Monarch Sighting

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Briefly I glimpsed a Monarch butterfly earlier in the summer, but was unable to get a photograph. Fast forward and today a Monarch was in residence in the garden exploring, flitting between recently opened zinnias and lantana and I snapped several shots before it darted away.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

I stationed myself close into the lantana where, while waiting for the monarch to reappear, I was lucky to witness this fascinating Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thysbe) Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis). Thought you might enjoy seeing it in action. I have noticed more than usual of these hummingbird clearwings moths around the garden this year. [2018-07-23 note: Had help correctly identifying this through iNaturalist.org.]

When the monarch returned and began enjoying lantana, the hummingbird moth buzzed by rather aggressively. Collecting itself, the butterfly hopped to another flower and resumed the business at hand.

In the past several years I saw few or no monarchs, but I hope to see lots this year. The flower that attracted this one is Lantana camara (Common lantana).

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

The tree in the background is Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper). It is one of five planted about 7 years ago as a screening hedge and is the only one that survived the past winter.  The others are completely brown but I’m waiting until fall to have them removed.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Monarch Sighting

  1. Tina

    How nice! I’ve never been able to get a hummingbird moth, in either photo or video–I’m just not quick enough, it seems! Lovely photos!

    Reply
  2. Kris P

    Well done! I’ve been seeing more butterflies here of late but I think they’ve all been Gulf Fritillaries. Sadly, I’ve never seen a hummingbird moth.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Pauline. Despite the severe heat earlier in summer and continuing dry conditions, I feel optimistic about the garden in general and seeing the monarch is another boost.

      Reply
      1. tonytomeo

        Yes, there is so much variability among the cultivars in the species.
        I prefer the North American junipers, but they lack the variety.

  3. Beth @ PlantPostings

    Great captures and videos! I’ve rarely seen monarchs on the Lantanas, but I continue to plant them because I like them. The monarchs here lately are preoccupied with the Swamp Milkweed, the Echinaceas, and the Zinnias. More monarchs and caterpillars this year than last year, I’d say. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Beth, so exciting you’re seeing more monarchs and caterpillars this year. Makes me happy. I have lots of echinacea but don’t remember the monarchs going for it. Maybe that’s because it’s mostly dried up now from severe drought. Am. Goldfinches love it though! My lantana is one I’ve had for 17 years–dies back in winter and blooms in July. Consistently draws monarchs when they are around. Take care.

      Reply
  4. bittster

    Glad that you’re seeing so much action on your lantana. We had two monarchs already (I’m sure there were more of course) and I’m happy about that, since usually I don’t see any until August. Right now we’re getting a bunch of rain as well, so the milkweed should be perfect for raising families 😉

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I usually see monarchs later also. Interesting! Glad you’re getting rain. There are big storms all around us but we’re getting very little of the rain here (I’m glad for what we are getting though). take care.

      Reply

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